Don’t Be Boring

 

I’ve taken to posting encouraging quotes on my Instagram accounts early in the week, in part to encourage others, in part to motivate myself.

I’m in the process of leveling my to-do list, revamping things in an effort to reconnect with myself and my work. (It sounds fairly cheesy, but I was getting in pretty bad shape here.) And I came across this quote (because I’m the kind who scribbles random quotes into her notes and tasks) that reminded me of conversations I’ve had with too many people:

“I’m bored.”

“So go do something.”

“I don’t know what to do.”

“What do you enjoy doing? What projects do you have going?”

Blank stare.

A million snarky statements of disbelief pass through my mind. “Surely there’s something you’ve always wanted to do. Read? Something?”

Melodramatic sigh. “That sounds like a lot of work.” Flop.

“Right…”

 

It sounds like I’m saying you don’t have a right to sit around and do nothing. And I’m not. You should take the time to do nothing. Your brain needs it if you’ve been doing things for a while. It needs that breathing space.

But if you haven’t been doing anything and you’re bored and you can’t think of some way to get yourself un-bored, you simply aren’t trying.

How does being bored translate to being boring? Simple. If you’re bored, you aren’t doing anything. And if you aren’t doing anything, you really don’t have anything to talk about or to contribute usefully to a conversation. And that’s pretty boring.

Just remember to not hurt yourself or other people while trying to get un-bored.

 

Cross-posted from my Imzy community. (This is an experiment to see how I feel about cross-posting these.)

Play Your Own Game

This is probably the best advice I’ve read all year. It certainly struck a chord in me.

2. Play your own game
I was astounded when it came to the second set. Nadal did not play aggressively. Federer had shots that Nadal didn’t seem to have an answer for. Somehow though, Nadal was able to keep his cool. That was wisdom. You’ve got to play your own game. Don’t play aggressive just because everyone else is doing that. The key to winning is to develop your own goals and timelines. This is your game, not someone else’s. (Source)

The true key to being successful is always remembering it’s your game to lose. If that doesn’t motivate, nothing will!

Actions Over Wishing

Last New Year’s, a friend and I sat together at her kitchen table discussing plans for the new year. She was listing her resolutions in her journal. I was staring at my own blank journal feeling as empty as the pages.

While she made decisions about her wishes for her life, I realized I didn’t care about resolutions. I started writing out goals for myself. I broke them up into smaller steps, and transferred them to my note organizer on my computer when I got home.

This year, I’m amused to see so many people feel the same way I do. I think it has a lot to do with the mindset behind a resolution. I can resolve to do yoga every day all I want, but if I don’t put a plan behind it, the chances are good that i will never actually do it. I wish to do this, but nothing is compelling me.

On the other hand, a well-written goal demands action. Consider my goal to do yoga daily. By starting off doing yoga three times a week, I will add a day every two weeks until I am doing yoga daily.

I’ve set small, attainable steps for myself to help myself grow into the habit of doing yoga on a daily basis. I feel pushed to do it for fear of letting myself down.

Maybe it’s just me, but if I had to offer one piece of advice, it would be to set goals instead of resolutions for yourself. Set clearly defined goals and break them into baby steps to make them more achievable. It makes accomplishing change so much easier.

Originally posted at Collective Genius

Motivation: Nature vs. Nurture

In light of my own flagging motivation, I’ve been trying to read up on ways to motivate. It seems like such a simple prospect, you find what motivates you and use that to pull yourself through whatever you’re working on.

Lately, that hasn’t really helped me out.

My background being education, I’ve tried intrinsic motivators and extrinsic motivators. I’ve tried a punishment and reward system. Everything seems to be falling apart, and I’m so used to being highly motivated that it’s really bringing me down.

Combing through the Carnival of the Capitalists this morning, I read an article that really made me start thinking. There will always be education’s view on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation…but what if the nature vs. nurture argument for intelligence and temperament spilled over into the motivation arena.

It really doesn’t resolve my problem because I happen to have a motivated parent and a life history of being overly motivated at times, but what if motivation was a habit that could be defined as a by-product of your inborn traits or your environment? Think about it- You could theoretically train yourself to be more motivated. Does this defy the intrinsic vs. extrinsic fight, or does it perhaps build on it? The idea is that you start a child with extrinsic motivators and gradually move them to intrinsic motivators. It should work for adults, too.

This doesn’t even begin to consider the concept of internal vs external pressure, which I suspect would play a large part in the situation, too.

I may have to think on this one for a bit…

A Change of Approach to Motivating

I’ve been struggling with motivation issues for nearly a month now. Normally, I set up a to-do list and giggle with great glee as the list gets shorter and shorter. I like shrinking to-do lists, but for some reason that simple joy wasn’t enough to keep me moving.

Yesterday, it briefly occured to me that perhaps I should approach my list differently to see if it re-energizes my motivation. I wrote out every single task that I need to do, no matter how small, and erased my whiteboard. The space normally reserved for my to-do list is now labelled “I’ve accomplished”, and I write every completed task, no matter how small. Seeing the growing list seems to be keeping me motivated to keep adding to the list, so this is working for now.

Sometimes, motivation flags because we get into ruts. Changing my mindset is helping me work around my motivation issues. What helps you when your motivation goes on vacation?

Originally posted at 100Bloggers

Energy is Finite, But Flexible

In science, the law of the conservation of energy says that energy can be neither created nor destroyed, it can only change form. I’ve really tried to take that to heart as a personal law. Every day I wake up with the same amount of energy, a finite amount that gets budgeted throughout my day.

When I am rested, the energy manifests as spirited optimism, allowing me to cut through a to-do list, teach half a dozen topics in ten minutes, and save the world without breaking a sweat. When I am tired, the energy works to slow me down, make me think, rest, and meditate. It’s the same level of energy as when I seem to have boundless energy, but it’s going toward recuperating my spirit. It feels like I have less energy because I can’t see the ways I’m expending it.

There are naturally times when I need to redirect my energy from revitalizing me to allowing me to get through those things that need doing. Those are the times when I take a walk or dance, light a scented candle, or even just pour myself a cup of chai. It’s the littlest things that can shift my energy back into my control.

Eventually, I’m going to remember this finite amount of energy when six people make impassioned requests for my time.

Originally posted at Collective Genius

Motivation

Motivation has been on my mind a lot over the past month.

I’ve been wrestling with my own motivation, watching my to-do lists fail to get shorter because I couldn’t find the heart to do anything. It’s not that I don’t like the tasks on my to-do lists. I actually like the vast majority of them. Each and every one of them is a step toward accomplishing some goal, and I love setting and achieving goals.

This lack of motivation has spilled over into other areas of my life, causing me to be sluggish in my editing, my blogging, my jewelry. It makes me feel guilty.

I’m definitely looking for some way to jump start my motivation so May won’t go by as passively as April seems to have.

As I sit here grappling with my motivation, definitely more intrinsic than extrinsic, I’ve also had to deal with a friend’s motivation, more extrinsic than intrinsic. I think it’s been her pursuit of gaining motivators that has actually pushed me to write. While I understand that she is more driven by extrinsic motivators, I have found myself utterly repulsed at her methods of gaining or expressing those recently.

It makes me wonder how often she feels similarly when confronted with my intrinsic motivation. Does she look at my actions and get annoyed with what appears to be me taking a lot of grief that, in her opinion, I shouldn’t have to? (A lot of people watch me work and think that, actually.)

Regardless of whether it intrinsic or extrinsic, motivation is one of those things that is very personal, and changes from person to person. Somehow, it just doesn’t seem to be one of those things so easily judged.

Perhaps it’s just me being so upset for being so unmotivated lately.